Mayday 2010 in Belfast


The Belfast Mayday demonstration began at Writers Square. A pavilion had been set up in front of the imposing St. Anne's Cathedral and rows of stands and tables were being occupied by a number of organizations including the Services Industrial Professional Technical Union, the Socialist Party, the Worker's Party, Amnesty International, the Northern Ireland Public Services Union, the Irish Congress Trade Unions, the National Union of Rail Maritime and Transport Workers, the Irish Transport and General Workers Union*, the Eirigi party, the Irish Republican Socialist Party, the Alliance for Choice, the Union of Shop Distributors and Allied Workers, the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers, United Teachers Union, the Irish National Teachers Association, the UNISON retirees union, the Trocaire campaign to feed the hungry, the We Won't Pay anti-water charges campaign, and the Anarchist Just Books Collective representing Organise!. Several food, coffee, and beer stands were also set up in the area in front of the pavilion and many families were in attendance. The minor writings of Marx and general Irish Trade Union activist literature dominated the tables as well as a strong presence of Trotsky and Engels; the Just Books table carried the anarchist torch alone, passing out copies of Organise!'s excellent publication, 'The Leveller'.

The parade took a long turn down Donnegal Place and around the City Hall. Several of the unions had marching bands playing throughout and the colorful, intricate banners of some of the organizations (Organise! included) garnered a positive response from the spectators who were quick to give shouts of approval or honk their car horns. There were no confrontations between anyone at any point and the entire parade couldn't have lasted more than a couple hours if even that. Generally speaking, the atmosphere was fair-like and relaxed with the entrenched trade unions dominating the day; though small in number, the red and black of the Just Books Collective stood-out and could not have gone unnoticed.

Words and images from Freddie Schulze, Morze Infoshop in Budapest who was visting Belfast

* WSM - presumably someone had taken their banner out for historical reasons as this was one of the unions that merged into SIPTU

Created with flickr slideshow.